Vronsky was staying in a roomy, clean, Finnish hut, divided into
two by a partition. Petritsky lived with him in camp too.
Petritsky was asleep when Vronsky and Yashvin came into the hut.
"Get up, don't go on sleeping," said Yashvin, going behind the
partition and giving Petritsky, who was lying with ruffled hair
and with his nose in the pillow, a prod on the shoulder.
Petritsky jumped up suddenly onto his knees and looked round.
"Your brother's been here," he said to Vronsky. "He waked me up,
damn him, and said he'd look in again." And pulling up the rug
he flung himself back on the pillow. "Oh, do shut up, Yashvin!"
he said, getting furious with Yashvin, who was pulling the rug
off him. "Shut up!" He turned over and opened his eyes. "You'd
better tell me what to drink; such a nasty taste in my mouth,
"Brandy's better than anything," boomed Yashvin. "Tereshtchenko!
brandy for your master and cucumbers," he shouted, obviously
taking pleasure in the sound of his own voice.
"Brandy, do you think? Eh?" queried Petritsky, blinking and
rubbing his eyes. "And you'll drink something? All right then,
we'll have a drink together! Vronsky, have a drink?" said
Petritsky, getting up and wrapping the tiger-skin rug round him.
He went to the door of the partition wall, raised his hands, and
hummed in French, "There was a king in Thule." "Vronsky, will
you have a drink?"
"Go along," said Vronsky, putting on the coat his valet handed to
"Where are you off to?" asked Yashvin. "Oh, here are your three
horses," he added, seeing the carriage drive up.
"To the stables, and I've got to see Bryansky, too, about the
horses," said Vronsky.
Vronsky had as a fact promised to call at Bryansky's, some eight
miles from Peterhof, and to bring him some money owing for some
horses; and he hoped to have time to get that in too. But his
comrades were at once aware that he was not only going there.
Petritsky, still humming, winked and made a pout with his lips,
as though he would say: "Oh, yes, we know your Bryansky."
"Mind you're not late!" was Yashvin's only comment; and to change
the conversation: "How's my roan? is he doing all right?" he
inquired, looking out of the window at the middle one of the
three horses, which he had sold Vronsky.
"Stop!" cried Petritsky to Vronsky as he was just going out.
"Your brother left a letter and a note for you. Wait a bit;
where are they?"
"Well, where are they?"
"Where are they? That's just the question!" said Petritsky
solemnly, moving his forefinger upwards from his nose.
"Come, tell me; this is silly!" said Vronsky smiling.
"I have not lighted the fire. Here somewhere about."
"Come, enough fooling! Where is the letter?"
"No, I've forgotten really. Or was it a dream? Wait a bit, wait
a bit! But what's the use of getting in a rage. If you'd drunk
four bottles yesterday as I did you'd forget where you were
lying. Wait a bit, I'll remember!"
Petritsky went behind the partition and lay down on his bed.
"Wait a bit! This was how I was lying, and this was how he was
standing. Yes--yes--yes.... Here it is!"--and Petritsky pulled
a letter out from under the mattress, where he had hidden it.
Vronsky took the letter and his brother's note. It was the
letter he was expecting--from his mother, reproaching him for
not having been to see her--and the note was from his brother to
say that he must have a little talk with him. Vronsky knew that
it was all about the same thing. "What business is it of
theirs!" thought Vronsky, and crumpling up the letters he thrust
them between the buttons of his coat so as to read them carefully
on the road. In the porch of the hut he was met by two officers;
one of his regiment and one of another.
Vronsky's quarters were always a meeting place for all the
"Where are you off to?"
"I must go to Peterhof."
"Has the mare come from Tsarskoe?"
"Yes, but I've not seen her yet."
"They say Mahotin's Gladiator's lame."
"Nonsense! But however are you going to race in this mud?" said
"Here are my saviors!" cried Petritsky, seeing them come in.
Before him stood the orderly with a tray of brandy and salted
cucumbers. "Here's Yashvin ordering me a drink a pick-me-up."
"Well, you did give it to us yesterday," said one of those who
had come in; "you didn't let us get a wink of sleep all night."
"Oh, didn't we make a pretty finish!" said Petritsky. "Volkov
climbed onto the roof and began telling us how sad he was. I
said: 'Let's have music, the funeral march!' He fairly dropped
asleep on the roof over the funeral march."
"Drink it up; you positively must drink the brandy, and then
seltzer water and a lot of lemon," said Yashvin, standing over
Petritsky like a mother making a child take medicine, "and then a
little champagne--just a small bottle."
"Come, there's some sense in that. Stop a bit, Vronsky. We'll
all have a drink."
"No; good-bye all of you. I'm not going to drink today."
"Why, are you gaining weight? All right, then we must have it
alone. Give us the seltzer water and lemon."
"Vronsky!" shouted someone when he was already outside.
"You'd better get your hair cut, it'll weigh you down, especially
at the top."
Vronsky was in fact beginning, prematurely, to get a little bald.
He laughed gaily, showing his even teeth, and puling his cap over
the thin place, went out and got into his carriage.
"To the stables!" he said, and was just pulling out the letters
to read them through, but he thought better of it, and put off
reading them so as not to distract his attention before looking
at the mare. "Later!"